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Calderdale Council Elections - hustings

Updated - Friday, 16 May 2014    

We have invited candidates standing for election to Calderdale for the Calder ward (covering Hebden Bridge) or Luddenden Foot ward (covering Mytholmroyd) to tell HebWeb readers why they should vote for them. We have had six responses - see below, listed in the order that we received them. If other candidates from either ward would like to be included, please get in touch with the HebWeb.

Labour candidate: Alison Miles

Alison MilesI have lived in the Upper Valley for nearly 30 years. My children went to local schools and I worked in the area for over a decade. I have many local contacts and I believe myself to be a very approachable member of our community.

My background is in nursing, particularly community health and health promotion. I was active in the campaign to retain an Out-of-hours service at Todmorden Health Centre.
I want to have the opportunity to represent the views of the people in Calder ward: in Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and the surrounding parishes. We need Calderdale Council to become a majority Labour Council in order to continue to deliver what is best for all in Calderdale.

As a socialist, I will campaign both in and out of the Council for those rights that have been eroded by this coalition government. I will not only work for the council elections this year but also with the Labour Prospective Parliamentary candidate, Josh Fenton-Glynn, to return a Labour MP to the Valley in 2015. The challenges facing local councils can only be helped by ensuring that we deliver a Labour majority at the next General Election

If elected, my focus will be on the re-prioritisation and protection of the most vulnerable in our society and to help find ways to improve service delivery across Calderdale.

Independent candidate: Stephen Curry

Stephen CurryLocally I always vote for a person, not a party. I find out what they are like. Do they understand my interests, aspirations and concerns? Are they a fair? pragmatic? competent?  Or blindly following Party lines?  Parties are national brands which do not always translate to local issues for me and that's why I stand as an Independent.  Electing me will mean local issue get priority. There are over 2000 Independent Councillors in the UK doing just that. I am already active in our community and have proved I can manage the demands and complexities of representing Calder Ward residents.

About me:  I have lived and worked in Calder Ward for 14 years wherewith Christine I own and run Angeldale Guest House in Hebden.
I am a board member of Hebden Bridge Partnership, Secretary of the Todmoden Civic Society, and until recently was Company Secretary for the Hebden Bridge Community Association (HBCA) at the Town Hall, where I had 100% attendance record.

Endorsement: My Candidacy is endorsed by the 'Independent Network'.  An organisation set up by Martin Bell the former BBC war correspondent who stood against corrupt practices in parliament and was elected as an Independent MP.

My Priorities:
I won't forget flooding issues. We need to keep pressing government for resources to prepare and prevent a repeat of 2012.
Cuts in Services :  Our services and facilities are under threat from cuts in the local authority budgets.  Some services may be provided by community organisations like the HBCA. I want to ensure that community organisations are developed and prepared to take on those services.
Neighbourhood Plan: Neighbourhood Plans are a great weapon available to communities in countering the National Planning Policy Framework which supports developers interests over residents. We need to accelerate this work to protect our community spaces.
Civic Pride and opportunities to promote the area as a place to do business and visit: We had the CERN scientist conference in Hebden.  We also had the Rugby League Conference. We failed to give them a civic welcome and showcase our area. We now have the greatest cycle race in the world coming through our valley. It's a great opportunity to create a long-term sustainable visitor economy for local commerce and the service jobs it brings.
The NHS Debate: The NHS is always an emotional vote winner for the non Tories. The reorganisation of the NSH is always controversial. So political parties will always try to get local votes on this national issue.  Let's have some reasoning here.  Yes Halifax A&E might go in favour of centralising specialist A&E services in Huddersfield. But whatever that  outcome, I my priority here would be to ensure that the Todmorden Health Centre gets resources to be fully utilised as a 24/7 lower level A&E facility, as I believe this to be more essential for the vast majority of local residents in the upper Calder valley.

In 2012 I beat the Lib Dems into 3rd place in West End Ward. So now you know that voting Independent is not a wasted vote. Please remember this is a local election, not about Europe and not about Westminster.

Liberal Democratic candidate: Mike Smith

Mike SmithNo Old Political Dogma - Real Delivery and Action for Local People

It's far too easy for election candidates to make great promises of working hard for local people......once they've been elected. I want to ask them, "why the wait"? If someone wants to be your local councillor, they should be out there working hard for people before standing for election!

I can demonstrate a real record of action and give you a promise of total commitment to our community.

Don't just take my word for it. I am an elected member of the governing body of the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; my work for the Trust includes strong and effective support for widening effective access to specialist mental health services within our local community.

As an elected member of the Co-operative's Area Committee, I have spent four years helping many local groups secure funding through our Members' Community Fund.

These roles together with active membership of Community Foundation for Calderdale, being a former trustee and director of the Hebden Bridge Community Association and a co-opted member of the governing body of a local high school, I can demonstrate a long and continuous record of dedicating time and energy to our wider community.

This is all real action – not just election rhetoric, but real work with real results and achievement!

My Background

I am a retired professional accountant and have spent most of my career working with and advising small businesses including our local shops and market traders. I believe we need a councillor who understands the importance of local businesses as the bedrock of our economy being the providers of vital jobs, apprenticeships and work experience for our young men and women.

Real Accountability

My NHS and Co-op responsibilities mean that I am used to challenges and posing difficult questions and demanding accountability from those in authority. I will not shrink from the tough issues facing CMBC when it comes to explanations on how they are spending our money and how their decisions impact on our lives in the Upper Valley.

As a Liberal Democrat, I believe that decisions need to be made as close as possible to the community they affect. LibDems have ensured that local people are regularly consulted through ward forums. . As your councillor, I will always push to maximise the involvement of local decision making.

The last thing we need here in the Upper Valley is yet another Labour councillor too scared of their bosses in Halifax to really stand up for our local communities!

A strong local team

I joined the Lib Dems because of the sheer hard-work and real results that I saw from local councillor Janet Battye. It would be a great honour to join her and to serve you as a Calder ward councillor and add to the record of action she has already built here over the last ten years.

Real Action and Real Results. Build a strong local team for Calder Ward on Thursday May 22nd and vote for Mike Smith, Calderdale Liberal Democrats.

Green candidate: Kate Sweeny

Kate SweenyI am an NHS speech and language therapist, and I've lived in Calder ward since 2004. I had never belonged to a political party, but the invasion of Iraq in 2003 provided the catalyst. I'd been increasingly concerned about climate change and other environmental threats, so the Green Party was the natural choice. Once I found how strong the Green commitment was to social justice (defending the NHS, attacking inequality etc) it was a no-brainer. And I have never regretted my choice.

Some of the reasons I enjoy living in the area are its good balance of rural activities, local facilities and public transport links.

I see its main problems as being too much traffic and the threat of big corporations moving in.

As a Councillor, I would work for better public transport, and support local campaigns to keep supermarkets out of Hebden Bridge.

In terms of Calderdale-wide issues, my priority is to improve the local NHS, especially community services.

Anthony Hodgins: Liberal Democrat Candidate for Luddendenfoot ward.

Anthony Hodgins

I was born and brought up in Mytholmroyd and am delighted to involved with Community Foundation for Calderdale, Royd Regeneration and the Mytholmroyd Gala.  I feel I've a good knowledge of the area and the priorities of local people.

Around the ward I've been working on several schemes and ideas to improve our locality.

Improving the lighting and litter clearance at White Lee recreation ground.
Supporting job creation schemes around the area.  The Town Council is playing its part by taking on an apprentice, but we need more local businesses to take advantage of government and Community Foundation support for apprenticeship schemes.

We need to ensure that the flood groups work in a co-ordinated way with Calderdale Council, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency.

I'm pleased to see that the Rochdale Canal has been restored through Mytholmroyd and Luddendenfoot.  I was involved with this since its inception.  I've asked for signs to be put up on the towpath to remind cyclists to keep their speeds down and beware of pedestrians.

As your Calderdale Councillor I would work hard on your behalf especially on the Royd Regeneration five year plan in conjunction with Calderdale's ambition for Mytholmroyd, and make sure Luddendenfoot Community Association get all the help and support they need in running the Luddendenfoot Civic Institute which Liberal Democrat Councillor Christine Bampton Smith helped them with on the asset transfer.

As a carer for my brother I have an understanding of the problems of disabled people and I would make sure their needs are met by improving the local NHS and Community Services.
Please vote for Anthony Robert Hodgins Liberal Democrat Candidate for Luddendenfoot Ward.

Charlotte Brady: Labour Candidate for Luddendenfoot ward.

Charlotte Brady

There are things worth fighting for.

In October 2012 the day care at my children's Sure Start centre was threatened with closure as a result of the Tory/Lib Dem government cuts. As a working mother of 3, I know how vital these services are. I led a successful campaign to keep open all six local nurseries facing closure, but that was just the start.

Now Halifax A&E unit is facing closure, maternity and serious paediatric services may be moved and hundreds of beds axed in order to save money.

It is vital that our local A&E remains open. With few main roads, which are often crowded, and people living in remote areas, it is imperative that we have a short journey time to hospital, in addition to a speedy ambulance response.

The Government has reduced Calderdale Council's budget. By 2016/17 we will have £90 million less to spend on services than we did in 2010.

This has to stop. We have to stop it.

Only Labour has a plan to make things better. A plan to freeze energy prices, provide more funded childcare, build homes, raise the minimum wage and cut business rates.

Having worked in Mytholmroyd for the last 13 years, I know the Ward well. In addition to campaigning to keep our NHS services, I have:

  • Fostered a 'Think Local' campaign to promote the work of and recruitment by local businesses;
  • Spent time visiting local residents to listen to their concerns; and
  • Supported local Labour-led initiatives such as the "20 is Plenty" campaign and "Ambition for Mytholmroyd" project.

If you have any questions or ideas about either what Labour is doing in the Ward or my campaign, please get in touch at charlotteconstancebrady@gmail.com.

For change to happen, we need your support. We need to work together.

See also:

HebWeb Forum: Local elections

HebWeb News: European and local Elections (25 April)

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